The Stars and Stripes

Here are 5 fascinating facts about our grand old flag.

Did you know?
General George Washington’s first battle flag carried the British Union Jack in its upper left corner. American Revolutionaries combined the Union Jack with 13 red and white stripes to demonstrate that while loyal to England, they were also committed to justice for the 13 colonies.

“Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men; and so it must be daily earned and refreshed — else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.” (Dwight D. Eisenhower)

Betsy who?  Betsy Ross : Designer of Our Flag
Most historians now discredit the legend that Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross produced the first American flag in 1776. It is a fact that the pre-Union Pennsylvania government asked Betsy to sew flags for its navy—but others whose names are now forgotten were also asked to do so.

“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” (Mark Twain)

Grand Old Birthday
On June 14, 1777, the new Continental Congress resolved “that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

The American Revolution : Campaign 1776

America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” (Harry S. Truman)

During the Civil War, Lincoln‘s advisers, reflecting the view of many Northerners, wanted him to order the removal of the 11 stars representing the rebellious states. Lincoln replied that his mission as President was to preserve the Union at all costs. How could he allow the stars of the Confederate states to be stricken from the flag when so much blood was being spilled to keep them?

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

The Civil War – A Film by Ken Burns

“The real democratic idea is not that every man shall be on a level with every other, but that every one shall have liberty, without hindrance, to be what God made him.” (Henry Ward Beecher)

For All
The Pledge of Allegiance was first published in The Youth’s Companion children’s magazine in 1892 as part of a national public school celebration. Written by Francis Bellamy, it has gone through several revisions over the years, including the addition of the phrase “one nation under God,” which President Eisenhower signed into law on Flag Day 1954.

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